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June 13, 2008
Match factsFriday June 13, 2008
Big PictureIt's the form of the game that has turned cricket upside down, and for England's players, it's become even more crucial than ever. Tonight's contest at Old Trafford is, to all intents and purposes, a first chance to audition for Allen Stanford's US$20 million showdown in Antigua in November. A strong individual performance here, in what is one of only two scheduled Twenty20 internationals for England this summer, will all but ink the player into the starting line-up. For New Zealand, the incentives are slightly less full-on, although revenge for the Test series defeat will undoubtedly spur them on. England beat them 2-0 in this format in New Zealand in February, and in fact they've lost their last six encounters, but since then six of their foremost stars have been toning their hard-hitting techniques in the Indian Premier League.
Form guideEngland WWLLL
Watch out for...
Brendon McCullum No single player did more to ignite the feverish atmosphere of the IPL than McCullum, whose first foray for the Kolkata Knight Riders came on the opening night of the competition in Bangalore, when he belted Rahul Dravid's hapless Challengers for 158 unbeaten runs from 73 balls. He's back in black for this contest, rather than the gladiatorial gold of Kolkata, but he's bristling for another bout of big-hitting.
Stuart Broad In Durban in September, Broad was battered for six sixes in a single over by India's Yuvraj Singh during England's feeble showing in the ICC World Twenty20, but since then he has come into his own as an international cricketer - with bat and with ball. He's only 22, but his disciplined pace bowling and cool head for a crisis make him an indispensable part of England's limited-overs planning
Team newsMichael Vaughan might protest that he's still available for this form of the game, but his second-ball duck for Yorkshire last night confirmed he's a long way out of this particular picture. Instead Paul Collingwood takes over the reins for England, with the youngster Luke Wright stepping up to the opener's role. Dimitri Mascarenhas, England's sole IPL representative, returns to the lower-middle order, while Ravi Bopara - bristling for an opportunity after a brilliant double-hundred for Essex last week - is also set for a chance. Ryan Sidebottom is rested.
England 1 Luke Wright, 2 Ian Bell, 3 Kevin Pietersen, 4 Ravi Bopara, 5 Paul Collingwood (capt), 6 Owais Shah, 7 Dimitri Mascarenhas, 8 Tim Ambrose (wk), 9 Graeme Swann, 10 Stuart Broad, 11 James Anderson.
New Zealand's line-up will look rather more familiar to those who watched them in action in the Tests, with at least seven of their Trent Bridge line-up expected to play a part. McCullum shifts up the order yet again, from No. 3 to No. 1 this time, but their allround capabilities will be boosted by the return of Scott Styris, whose hard hitting is matched by his hit-the-deck seam bowling. Ross Taylor, who was New Zealand's most flamboyant batsman in the Tests, will relish the chance to play his strokes with impunity.
New Zealand 1 Brendon McCullum (wk), 2 Jamie How, 3 James Marshall, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Scott Styris, 6 Daniel Flynn, 7 Jacob Oram, 8 Daniel Vettori (capt), 9 Kyle Mills, 10 Mark Gillespie, 11 Jeetan Patel.
Umpires: Ian Gould and Peter Hartley
Pitch and conditionsOld Trafford is arguably the fastest track in world cricket, and also provides good bounce and turn for the spinners. There will, however, be plenty for any batsman who chooses to hit through the line, so it probably won't just be Manchester's notorious weather that rains down on the crowd. Showers are forecast for the evening, but a full game is in prospect.
Stats and Trivia
Quotes"We don't really know how they're going to react because this is a first for all of us. We're going into the unknown."
"It will be interesting when I sit down with the IPL guys and just say 'did you notice any trends throughout the tournament?'"
John Bracewell, New Zealand's coach, believes his senior players will provide an insight into Twenty20 tactics, after their sojourn in India.